Team Hammer, Inc. will not exercise its option with AMA Daytona SportBike Champion Martin Cardenas, thus freeing the Colombian to likely sign a contract that will see him aboard Yoshimura Suzukis in the 2013 AMA Superbike Championship.

A release from Team Hammer says that the team made the decision in order to allow Cardenas to "better pursue his goal of returning to World Championship competition as soon as possible."

Cardenas rode a GEICO Suzuki in a team operated by Chris Ulrich Racing LLC with technical and logistical support from Team Hammer's contract services department.

During the 2009-2010-2011-2012 seasons, Cardenas won 25 AMA Pro races, scored 39 AMA Pro podium finishes and two AMA Pro Championships with Team Hammer. He finished third in 2009 Daytona Sportbike points with seven race wins despite missing two races with an injury; won nine races and the 2010 Daytona SportBike Championship; finished fourth in 2011 Superbike points with a rookie Superbike season win; and won the 2012 Daytona SportBike Championship with eight race wins.

"First of all I would like to thank John and Chris Ulrich and all their family for giving me the opportunity to race in the AMA Pro Championship with an amazing team and mechanics who helped me win races and championships," Cardenas said in a Team Hammer release. "It's been a great six years working with John, Chris and the M4 and GEICO Suzuki teams, everything has been perfect and I will always be especially grateful for the opportunity given to me.

"Now I am starting a new chapter in my career, to race again in Superbike. I am very happy and excited to start this new season, and hoping for very good results. I will give 100 percent of my effort to do the best I can and try to achieve great things. Thanks again to everyone who has helped me get to where I am right now, because I wouldn't be here without the opportunity that John and Chris Ulrich and their teams gave me."

John Ulrich says that Cardenas is the best rider he's worked with.

"It's been an amazing six seasons with Martin, who is no doubt the best overall rider I've worked with during my 39 years in racing," said Ulrich in a team release. "He not only has an uncanny ability to make things happen on the racetrack, he is also very easy to work with, gets along well with his crew and is a decent human being. I am very proud that we were able to identify his inherent talent, pluck him off the fifth row of the grid and put him in a position to win AMA Pro races and AMA Pro Championships. It's a great example of what Team Hammer has been doing for over three decades now."

By Cycle News Staff

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